Scandal and triumph, protest and passion, provocation and experiment – here they're all brought together. documenta is the world's most important series of contemporary art exhibitions, a mirror of society and a showcase for the global art world. It happens every five years and always lasts 100 days.
At each documenta in recent years, more than 150 artists from around 50 countries, and visitors from all over the world, have explored the many different aspects of contemporary art. Exhibitions have encompassed sculpture, performance, installation, painting, photography, film and video, text and audio works, as well as objects and experiments from politics, literature, philosophy and science, offering plenty of scope for stances, visions and discussions. That's just how it was at the first documenta in 1955, when Arnold Bode, the Kassel artist and designer, sent out a signal of renewal by displaying works by artists who had been exiled and banned as 'degenerates' until 1945.
Some of the most spectacular are now integral parts of the townscape, for instance the 7000 Oaks project by Joseph Beuys, Claes Oldenburg's giant pickaxe and Jonathan Borofsky's Man Walking to the Sky, which was installed for documenta 9 in 1992. It's worth a trip to Kassel simply to see one of these great works of art.